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Woman dies after being injured during cancer surgery

The family of a woman who died after being seriously injured during reconstructive cancer surgery has received more than £100,000 in compensation, according to a BBC news report.

Margaret Burrell received treatment from University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust after being diagnosed with a tumour in her mouth in 2016. Mrs Burrell underwent reconstructive surgery to graft skin from her arm into her mouth, but the surgery left Mrs Burrell with problems swallowing, and resulted in her constantly taking saliva into her lungs, instead of her stomach.

Mrs Burrell then had to undergo a further 3 surgeries to try and correct the problems but was still left unable to eat or drink normally and died in 2019.

The Trust reportedly admitted that Mrs Burrell’s poor swallowing brought forward her death and that she had received negligent care, for which the Trust apologised.

Unfortunately Mrs Burrell may not have been the only patient to receive a poor standard of cancer surgery, as a number of patients who had maxillofacial surgery at the Trust between 2009 and 2016 have experienced problems. The reconstructive maxillofacial surgery service for head and neck cancers was suspended in November 2016 until 2018, after dental trainees raised safety concerns.

The Trust has since contacted over 100 patients who had surgery during that period, who might have been harmed. The Trust has stated that a comprehensive review has since taken place to understand what had happened and prevent it happening again.

If you have any concerns about care provided to you or a family member in any clinical setting and would like advice about the possibility of making a claim, then please contact our experienced medical negligence team – call 01302 320621 or email